Whether or not you’ve actually considered the issue before, I’m sure that everyone has their favourite pasta shape. Mine? Orechiette – named and shaped like little ears but I like to think of them as cute belly buttons. So there was no question of what I’d have for lunch at Journal Canteen – one big plate of carbs please, served with pork and wild fennel ragu.

Journal Canteen Level 1, 253 Flinders Lane Melbourne

Lunch at Journal Canteen is the perfect combination of simple, hearty food served in convivial surroundings. The cafe’s decor is what I’d term ‘utilitarian chic’ – lots of natural wood, old school chairs, a sprig of greenery here and there and softened with natural light. Petite Rosa Mitchell runs the open kitchen, which produces a small changing menu of homely Sicilian food for the buzzing crowd of lunch-seekers perched around the communal tables. Along with the soothing, al dente orechiette ($20) came a basket of crusty bread and a side salad with lettuce and fennel.

Our group also tried the colourful antipasto plate (a dish beyond your usual sliced meats and cheese) ($15), and a super moist walnut cake with sour cherries which was a little too undercooked for my liking but declared perfect by my dining companion ($7.50).

For other great lunch spots nearby, try Migo’s and Sushi Ten.

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